5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

by Emma Lowe

What is Sankalpa?

Have you ever been in yoga class and zoned out when invited to set an ‘intention for your practice’, or during Yoga Nidra got the dreads when asked to call upon your sankalpa?

Know that you are not alone. Getting clear about our intentions and coming to know our life’s purpose can take a little time and heart felt thought.

First let’s get clear about what an intention is not – it is not a goal or resolution. 

When I’ve set myself a goal, it has usually been based around something I no longer want in my life and I become overly attached to a particular end result. The slightest of deviance makes you feel like you’ve failed and ultimately to quit what might have been a very good and worthy intention.

In my experience goals are set in the thinking mind, bringing with them layers of conflict between the unconscious mind and the workings of our being.

Our bodies therefore do receive the mentally constructed goal of change but instead energetically receive the internal conflict, which is the opposite of the desired effect and any changes materialising out of sheer will and determination rather than deep rooted and lasting transformation. 

With an intention however, we don’t need to judge whether we win or fail. An intention doesn’t trigger that conflicting voice in our minds.

An intention is a direction which allows us to learn from our detours without judgement, so we don’t quit, we don’t fail – we simply notice we’re face deep in the box of chocolate (self observation without judgement) and pull ourselves away from them (re-choosing our new direction) and get back on track (towards our intention). 

Where I have found radical and lasting transformation is with the use of intention or sankalpa within the practice of Yoga Nidra, which I’ll be sharing on our Thailand Yoga Retreats this summer/fall..

Yoga Nidra is a full body, conscious guided meditation process dating back to the Tantras.

Lying down, usually in savasana, you are guided to physically and energetically relax, withdrawing from the senses and external stimuli and coming to rest as open awareness itself in the bliss layer of being or Anandamaya Kosha. 

Here we work with intention at the very subtlest layers of our being.

In this state intentions can be planted without the presence of the conflicting mental mind and real paradigm shifts can occur.


But how do you actually go about setting an intention or a sankalpa? 


1. Make your intention about you

How do you want to be in the world? 

What is your highest expression of yourself?  


2. Let it resonate within you

You know when you have found the right intention for you as it will feel right.

It will resonate throughout your entire being.

Our intention should create a sense of expansion in the body.


3. Phrase your intention positively & in the present tense

Your intention should be a statement of truth. You may not fully believe it right now and that’s okay but feel it as though it were true and start to cultivate and direct your attention and energy in that direction.

Being cruel and drawing upon “negative” traits and characteristics seldom motivates lasting, positive change in ourselves (or in the world).

By focusing all our energy on the things we don’t like or don’t want creates discord – which is actually the opposite of the desired outcome!

For example rather than “I want to quit smoking” or “I want to be thin” your intention could be “I am healthy and only do things that nourish my body”.

Or rather than “I want to be less anxious” your intention could be “I am at peace”.

Make your intention withdraw energy from where you don’t want to be and instead direct your energy to where you do want to go. 


4. Keep it simple and concise

So you easily can recall it whenever you need it. 

If words aren’t really your thing, perhaps make your intention an image or a sense. As long as it creates the energetic sensation you want; your intention can be truly anything that works for YOU.

However, the best part about working with intentions in Yoga Nidra is that even if you aren’t quite sure of your Sankalpa, the more you practice Yoga Nidra and allow yourself to rest in open awareness  – the more you naturally come into better alignment and harmony.

Often bad habits and emotional patterns and all the things we tend to set intentions to shift naturally melt away, sometimes without you even realising they have been transmuted. 


5. If you’re still drawing a blank, ask yourself what is it that you truly want from this short and precious life?

What are the things that light you up and that make your wild heart sing?

Do more of whatever it is that you love and allow yourself to be more YOU in everything you do

and in doing this, you’ll align with an intention so deep and profound it lies beyond what the body can feel or the mind understand yet all things will fall into place. 



Emma will be sharing Yoga and Yoga Nidra at Pure Flow Yoga this summer .

Click here to find some free Yoga Nidra recording from Emma, including one on to help you find your sankalpa.

Join Emma for an intimate, magical, & life-changing retreat in Thailand this August and September 2019.


Founder of Essential Nature Yoga, Irish nomad and Celtic Yogini Emma Lowe facilitates Yoga and Yoga Nidra practices which merge yoga and nature based wisdom. She has also been Communications and Creative Director and assistant facilitator with Somah Journeys since 2018.

With a background in creative and performing arts, Emma engages music, song, folklore and story telling for the purpose of personal and cultural healing in her offerings. She is also a poetic writer, photographer and painter. Since childhood Emma has been engaged in using these mediums for the purpose of peace and reconciliation through cross community projects in Ireland.

Emma’s career in film and television opened her eyes to an holistic way of living and opened her heart to a spiritual path while working on a national religion and ethics series. Later while working on hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Emma found balance and a way to deal with personal grief through mindfulness techniques she learnt from a Buddhist nun. An encounter which eventual led her to the yogic path and to South East Asia. 

Trained in Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra, Emma teaches intuitively and with a deep understanding of life’s natural cycles and rhythms in order to nourish and inspire her students. 

Emma sees yoga as a vehicle for personal and social change and offers inclusive, safe spaces where everyone and everything is welcome. She is particularly passionate about practices that support women’s health, having trained with Tina Nance in Womb awakening and studying with Yoni Shakti author Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. Emma offers hormone balancing restorative yoga and her popular Yoni Nidra (womb meditations).

Emma spends time working with the native plant medicines of the Amazon basin, including the ‘vine of death’ and has received medicine songs and red road teachings during her time in South America, which inspired her to study and share her own ancestral roots through Celtic spirituality and Celtic Medicine wheel teachings.

Emma Lowe

Essential Nature Yoga

Healing Powers of Music

Healing Powers of Music

The Healing Powers of Music 

by Mel Dobra


Music has the ability to transcend cultural barriers,


Music has the power to soothe and heal emotional wounds.


Music has the power to unite communities, nations and even the world. 


In a society so focused on deadlines, keeping busy and getting ahead, the healing powers of music can often be overlooked, forgotten, and even dismissed as we strive forward on a never ending quest for the urban dream. 


About ten years ago I started playing music, and it was one of the biggest blessings of my life.


Through first hand experience, I quickly became aware, of the benefits that music can have, on ones well being, psyche and soul. 





My Story of how Music helped bring me back to Balance:


When life dealt me my own mental health challenges last year, it was music that played a big part In restoring me to good health.

Its not only the vibrations and the feelings that music elicit, but also the connections to community that music brings, creating shared experiences that we remember. 

I’m sure we can all recall a moment where a beautiful piece of music has been used to unite friends or family in love at a wedding.

I personally have been deeply touched by the music at a friends funeral, allowing us as a community to grieve together, to feel our own sorrow and sadness. 

As an early childhood educator I have researched and witnessed the power that music has in different areas of the education system, especially supporting students with ASDL and other learning difficulties, bringing about both greater educational outcomes, and wellbeing.



Experience it for Yourself


Sound healing, singing, kirtan (or call and response singing), expressing, communicating and sharing are all beautiful ways we can explore the healing powers of music.

Step into this shared experience of music, to heal, create memories, activate your voice and share songs with us in paradise on our upcoming retreat @ Pure Flow Yoga Thailand this July 2019.

And stay tuned by following me on Facebook…I’m about to release my new album Smoke and Flame. 



About Mel Dobra



Mel Dobra is a performing arts teacher, a recording artist, and a workshop facilitator who uses the power of music, and creativity to create spaces where people can find a deeper connection to themselves, the community and the planet, through the shared power of sacred music. 

Follow Mel’s Journey on FB: https://www.facebook.com/meldobramusic/

Listen & Buy Mel’s Music: https://meldobra.bandcamp.com/


Upcoming Events

Love & Inspirations

Somatic Yoga – Our Body is our Brain

Somatic Yoga – Our Body is our Brain

Our Body is Our Brain:

The Basis of Somatic Yoga

by Daphne Chua

What is Somatic Yoga?

The notion of practising yoga might in itself present itself as a scary concept for some. 

I’ve heard many utter… 

 “I’m not flexible enough!” 

“ Are you kidding? I can’t bring my legs behind my head,” 

“ It’s a practice for women” 

“ It’s too boring”

“ I will break before I start” 


Contemporary yoga presents a svelte, slim, flexible, bikini-toned, model-like poster image of what a modern yogi (yogini) should look like.

The power of glossy marketing have certainly encouraged many to take up this form of fitness modality as it is now a modality practiced by over 36 million people*. However, it has also turned away many others who might have the notion that Yoga is an exclusive club for social media savants.


The accessibility of Yoga has often been mistakenly positioned as a practice for:

1. those who are hyper-mobile enough to pick up the practice easily,

2. those we are determined enough to put themselves through the ordeal of contortionism, or

3. those who thick-skinned enough to suffer through the humiliation of being “stiff”. 


The yoga landscape is really diverse now with a gazillion choices on styles and lineages.

It can be overwhelming to even get started! There is Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, HIIT Yoga, Yin Yoga, Barre Yoga, even Beer Yoga, Dog Yoga… and the list goes on…


But what if, just what if, Yoga isn’t about touching your toes or forcing your body into odd shapes or being able to look good in Lululemon gear, to get a glimpse into enlightenment? 

What if it is actually a practice centred around cultivating awareness, using different toolkits, to better connect body and mind? What if it can be fun, accessible, engaging? What if it can offer you insight into how you carry your beliefs through your body so you have more choices? What if it helps you to understand more about your relationships with self and others so you have more confidence, clarity and empathy in your interactions? 


For me personally, Yoga is first and foremost, a somatic practice to arrive into the present moment.

What does that mean?

Soma comes from a Greek word connoting “The Living Body” – pertaining to the consciousness of our living body, experienced and regulated from within. It is an exploration into waking up our innate senses to uncover our mind-body mapping. The practice shines a light on our habitual but mostly unconscious neurological patterning that will show up in how we breath, how we move, how we react to circumstances. These are manifested through pre-dispositions, deep seated patterning, and years of conditioning.


The practice of Somatic Yoga is thus a process of inquiry into how consciousness inhabits the living body. 

Somatic Yoga brings together mindfulness through movement, meditation, breath work, touch, visualisations, sounds, creative expressions etc, to dive deep into our consciousness and our embodied biological processes. Through sensory-motor education we can also improve motor control, coordination, and change learned muscular patterns. This approach to yoga is highly effective in relieving chronic pain, improving bodily function, and recovering from common musculoskeletal conditions.


What are Somatic Principles?

  • It is body centred to improve awareness of the body-mind connection
  • It is a sensory approach (rather than cognitive approach) to learning / unlearning / relearning
  • It is exploratory in nature, based on the premise that the body is shaped by the mind, and that the mind can be reshaped through the body
  • It is focused on the internal experience of the movement rather than on the end result.


A Body-Sensing Approach

  • It is calming & restorative. It regulates our nervous system from the constant Fight – Flight – Freeze mode, to a Rest – Digest – Engage mode.
  • It brings together somatic, mindfulness & movement principles to guide better movements.
  • It is an embodied learning approach based on neuroplasticity (the brain can be rewired, i.e unhealthy, deep conditioning patterns can be shifted_
  • It helps us to develop kinesthetics and spatial intelligence by working through the whole body’s myo-fascial connections.
  • It helps us embody how the various systems (e.g circulatory, digestive, endocrine systems) of the body work in unison to achieve balance and homeostasis. 
  • It is based on how moods & language influence physiology
  • It improves fascia health, immunity, and overall body and mind integrity


So how are we shaped?

  • Via communication – the exchange of information between body and mind, through the nervous system – central, autonomic, enteric (gut).
  • It influences how we breathe, our digestion, body chemistry, and energy levels
  • Our moods & emotions lie at the heart of this communication as it shapes our physical body, i.e stress & anxiety can lead to poor posture, pain, inflammation, dis-eases.
  • How we feel, think and behave is a biological process that is embodied through fascia health and body chemistry
  • Interoception – how we are being informed by our body – is linked to the myofascial system. 


The Benefits of Somatic Yoga

  • Helps to uncover movement patterns / habit (Samskaras) that are built on misalignment, inhibitions, co-contractions, and compensations.
  • Awaken sensory motor amnesia
  • Helps lubricate joints, nourish and hydrates tissues, create ease and increase range of motion
  • Interoception will regulate our nervous system and reduce pain sensitivity.
  • Variety of movement creates better coordination and neuroplasticity. It helps us to adapt better to our environment physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • “Subtle is how the body works. Gross is how the mind works.”  Paying attention to small changes can create profound impact on the way we think, move and relate.
  • Motion is powerful to Emotion. Movement can be used as a gateway to explore emotional regulation


The mind is like the wind & the body is like the sand. If you want to know how the wind is blowing, you can look at the sand.” 

~ Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Founder of Body Mind Centering


* Figures quoted from ~ http://media.yogajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016YIAS-Release-Final.pdf




Daphne will be offering Somatic Yoga & Movement Therapy at Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in gorgeous Koh Phangan from May 27 to June 28, 2019. 

Join her on this journey of self-exploration into uncovering your very own healing through movement, breath-work, hands-on techniques, and creative expressions to unravel our innate intelligence to nurture our body, mind and spirit. 

As a yoga therapist, a movement educator and bodyworker, Daphne has been practising yoga for the last two decades in a multitude of yoga styles & movement disciplines. Her studies include are grounded in philosophies as well as in anatomy and physiology. Some of her biggest inspirations have come from Richard Freeman – who has had a deep impact on the way she sees Yoga as a profound embodiment practice for the body, mind,spirit – as well as Donna Farhi, Tom Myers, and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (Body Mind

In recent years, she has delved into the study of neuroscience, somatic movement, combined with the holistic framework of Yoga Therapy tools to deepen her knowledge in the connection between mind and body. She uses an inquiry-based, body- sensing approach to bring about greater transformation and healing into the way we relate to ourselves and the environment. She has also recently completed her Graduate Certification in Yoga Therapy.

Daphne is trained in the art of Traditional Thai Yoga Massage, Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy, Chi Nei Tsang (TCM Abdominal Detox Massage), Tai Chi Massage and Reiki, all of which she infuses into the alchemy of her integrated bodywork and evidence-based yoga therapy. Her therapy sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, and trainings are known to focus on breath, mindfulness, and embodiment to create the moment-to-moment balance
in nurturing the body, mind and spirit.

for more info on Daphne, you can visit her website here – www.yogawithdaphne.com

Daphne Chua

Certified Yoga Therapist | Teacher Trainer | Bodyworker | Movement Educator | E-RYT 500 & YACEP Yoga Alliance | GCYT – Yoga Australia & AAYT

Want to share your story? We LOVE hearing from past students.

 If you’d like to share comments, feedback, or if you’d like to submit your own post for us to share, let us know  by contacting us!

Drishti: Find your Balance

Drishti: Find your Balance

 Drishti: Find your Balance in Life

by Nadia Moon


Find Your Drishti and Balance in Life

The Sankrit word for Yoga is translated in English as “union”. Yoga is indeed the practice that unites body, mind, spirit and beyond. Beyond duality there is yoga, union.

If I look back at my personal yoga journey, I have to confess that the reason why I started practicing yoga in the first place was mainly to keep my body fit.

I was not interested in spirituality and very sceptical about the whole idea of it. I was very much body-only focused – probably also reflecting the society I was living in. I had no awareness of how powerfully this practice would have transformed my entire life very soon.

However my body knew it. The body is very wise and it knew that it was just the beginning, so I kept going.

As I increased balance, strength and flexibility on the mat (through yoga asanas and pranayama) I started to notice those changes off the mat as well, in all aspects of my life.

After 5 years of yoga practice (including meditation) I quit my toxic corporate job, I quit an unhealthy relationship I was stuck in for over 10 years and I started a journey of listening to my soul and following my higher purpose in life.

Yoga has certainly been the tool I needed to break through my conditionings and find balance.

Now I can share with you the beauty of yoga in all its universal benefits.

Everything we learn and master on the mat influences the way we show up off the mat in our everyday life.

Let’s look at one of the qualities we often seek for in our lives: balance, and how the yoga practice can help us achieve it more deeply.



The balance in a yoga asana (a body posture) can be reached by finding our drishti.

Drishti is a sanskrit word for “point of focus”.

We can’t balance in an asana by focusing on the whole wall in front of us. We need to chose a precise point on that wall, stick with it with full awareness and commitment and let go of the rest. That point on the wall is our drishti.

Once you find your drishti, the invitation is to commit to it and to let the breath be deep and smooth.

And every time you fall, honour that.  Honour the commitment you have to get back up again, and again.

Let’s remember that it’s not about how many times we fall, but rather how many times we are willing to rise up once again. Enjoying the process is the real goal.

Likewise in life, to be balanced, we need to develop the ability to chose to focus only on the things that are beneficial to us and let go of that don’t serve us.

Following our dreams, our true desires, our soul purpose in life – that’s our Drishti. It requires determination and practice; it demands to believe fully in our dreams and to drop the resistance or attachment towards what doesn’t serve our purpose. We are capable of the impossible if we only believe in it.

Yoga gives us the tools to find that drishti, that balance on and off the mat.


Practice: Balance your Breath

Beside yoga asanas (body posture) we can practice the principle of balancing with the breath as well.

Set aside 5 – 10 mins now, or longer if you can, to practice this gentle breathing meditation and increase your awareness on balancing:

Find a conformable sitting position or lay down in savasana.

Take few moments to tune in into what balance means to you.

What is the quality of balance you wish to bring in your everyday life?

Breath in your intention with full awareness. Stay here for few moments as you plant the seed of your intention. Water it with your breath.

Then let go of your intention for now, drop any story in your head and shift your mind from whatever is drifted to, to watch the rise and fall of your natural breath. Without changing it, just bring awareness to it for few minutes.

As you inhale you receive energy, as you exhale you give energy. Pay attention to whether your inhale is longer then your exhale or vice versa. Notice if that is also true in your everyday life. Is it probably time for you to receive more? Or to give more?

Then start to bring balance to your breathing. Feeling that the inhale and the exhale become equal length. Counting the breath may help. Breathing in for 5… breathing out for 5… noticing the gap in between each breath. That tiny little pose at the bottom of your inhale and the tiny little pose at the bottom of your exhale.

Continue for few minutes and then release.

What have you noticed?


I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share and comment,

Enjoy the process!!!

With Love, Nadia


Nadia will be sharing her passion for Yoga on our upcoming Yoga RetreatsThailand @ Pure Flow Yoga, in April 2019.  Learn more about here or on her website @ www.NadiaMoon.com

6 Ways to Nourish your Immune System this Winter

6 Ways to Nourish your Immune System this Winter

6 Ways to Nourish your Immune System

this Winter

by Ellanah Fawcett

For those in the Northern Hemisphere the phase of winter within our yearly cycle is beginning to settle in. With it comes the gift of our annual time to really go inside, reflect on the cycle that has been, bring light and love to our deep inner world and generally get really yummy and cosy.


Sometimes though we can forget that behind the clouds and blankets of cold there is a burning, radiant sun still shining its light into our world; the days can feel heavy and dark, our heart energy turns inwards as we tense and hold our bodies against the cold and our immune system can begin to struggle if we are not cultivating our inner fire and working with the internal sun of our heart.


So here are 6 ways you can tend to your heart fire and nourish your immune system to feel radiant, balanced and filled with vitality this Winter time:


1. Chant Mantra



Mantra is one of the most beautifully, powerful ways to balance our entire body-mind-being. It works so viscerally within our physical body all the way to the subtlest expressions of our self.


When we chant mantra we are inviting our mind to align with the essence of the heart. As this re-alignment and reprogramming gently occurs the immune system gets a huge boost. Our thoughts begin to take on a much more peaceful and loving energy transforming our whole entire energy field, which leaves not much space for any winter lurgy to live and thrive within us.

As little as 15 minutes of chanting a day can have profound effects on your whole being, those around you and the energy of your home; give it a try!


A beautiful mantra to explore this wintertime is the Gayatri…chanting to the Goddess of the Sun and the ancient wisdom of the Vedas.


You can find many recordings online to listen to the pronunciation, a beautiful recording is by Deva Premal & Miten (you can find on Spotify or YouTube).


Om Bhur Bhuvah Suvaha

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi

Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat


Really see if you can savour each syllable and invite the essence of peace to be experienced through the mantra, embodying the essence of the mantra; this will permeate your entire being, helping to transform your thoughts, emotions and physical being.


There might even be mantra chanting circles or Kirtan in your local area, have an explore online and see what is near to you so that you can share and connect with others.


2. Embodiment Practices


Dancing fun

Dancing fun


Movement fans the flames of our inner fire. When our outer weather is cold we can balance this by keeping our body-home warm. We can’t control our outer environment but we can create the most nourishing inner environment.


When we are embodied within our self the immune system naturally functions at a higher level. Our awareness expands throughout our body and this awareness is essentially warmth and love; thus creating the conditions for more peace and joy to flourish.


Find a movement practise that brings joy to your heart and warmth to your body, whether it is Yoga Asana, dance, shaking, running, jumping, climbing…if you like to move alone, find a space where you can let your whole self be free or if you like to move with others find a class or group or start one yourself.


Activate the heart, feel it beating as you move, beating warmth and life into every corner of your being.


3. Metta Meditation




Anahata, our heart chakra, is directly linked to our Thymus Gland where T-Blood cells are produced that are an integral part of our immune system. When Anahata is in balance our Thymus is able to work efficiently, creating a healthy immune system for us.


Metta Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to activate and balance our heart chakra; opening the doors to the compassion that is innate within all our hearts and inviting our love to flow to the world around us, our loved ones, those we are struggling with and to ourselves.


You can find a Metta Meditation on our Pure Flow Podcast and plenty on YouTube and Insight Timer.


4. Ayurvedic Golden Milk



In Ayurveda winter time is associated with Vata Dosha (cold and dry), which means to balance this we need to invite warmth into our system. Ayurvedic Golden Milk is a beautiful way of doing this, working with the immune superfood Turmeric.


Turmeric is a magic herb that has been proven to be highly anti-inflammatory for the body, supports healthy liver function, boosts immune system, reduces the risk of cancer, balances hormones, manages arthritis pain and many many other beautiful gifts.


To make this warm, Ojas boosting, turmeric-based drink is lovely and simple:

  • Bring one cup of organic cow, almond or coconut milk to a gentle boil.
  • Add a teaspoon of fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder, a small amount of ginger, a pinch of black pepper and a teaspoon of coconut oil.
  • Gently stir or whisk
  • Pour into a cup adding honey to sweeten
  • You can also get creative and add other winter warming herbs to this mix such as cinnamon, clove or nutmeg



5. Creative Free Flow (Journalling, Drawing, Crafting…)



The natural essence of energy is to flow. When energy becomes stuck or stagnant (held by a thought form or by not allowing our emotions and bodies to flow and move) it creates the conditions for ‘dis-ease’ to manifest in our physical reality. We can keep the mind and emotional body flowing through some form of creative outlet.


Each morning put a timer on for 5-10 minutes and invite your pen to flow across the pages of your notebook without stopping and without censoring. This may express in the form of words or drawings or paintings.


If you are someone who resonates with sound, then for this time you can explore and allow sound to flow; be curious with how sounds feel in your body, where they come from and which sounds different parts of the body want to express on any given day. Find your outlet and invite in a sense of flow and grace.


6. Making space for rest and relaxation


Our bodies need down time in order to regenerate; this means making sure we are getting an adequate amount of sleep and enough time spent just simply being.


Some favourite ways of gifting these precious spaces of silence and healing are: Yoga Nidra, Meditation, time spent simply being in nature and restorative or yin yoga. These deep states of silence refill our cup so abundantly and invite us home to the peace we seek that’s always available inside.


Create a technology curfew each evening so that you can disconnect to reconnect and set aside an amount of time each day that feels manageable to really gift yourself space to simply be.


When we nourish our heart and really awaken a deeper sense of self-love our body and surroundings naturally come into alignment and vitality. Let us know what your Heart nourishing winter practises are, we love to hear and share!


An adventure loving soul, Ellanah is forever exploring new ways of connecting to our true self and the magic of everyday life. Her sunshine infused classes explore the flowing dance between breath and movement; cultivating greater space, peace, and presence in both body and mind. A nature loving Reiki Master with an eclectic background in performing arts and Anthropology, and a love for all things dance; Ellanah draws from a creative mix of inspiration, always exploring how we can come deeper into awareness and move deeper from love. She is an avid believer that each individual’s yoga mat is an inspiring microcosm for life itself, encouraging us to flow with freedom and compassion both on the mat and out in the world.

Check out Ellanah Yoga on Facebook 

Ellanah Fawcett

Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master, "Life is a Gift, Let it Flow" - Yogi Bhajan

Want to share your story? We LOVE hearing from past students.

 If you’d like to share comments, feedback, or if you’d like to submit your own post for us to share, let us know  by contacting us!

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

by Faith Hill


Forgiveness has always been part of our human society and is featured in multiple historic religious texts but many people do not realise its powerful healing powers for inner peace and personal growth.


When someone wrongs us, they will usually apologise to us. However heartfelt or not, we will accept their apology but we don’t always move on. We hold a grudge or create a grievance and don’t practice true forgiveness.


Forgiveness is a choice


Holding a grudge or creating a grievance – big or small – is not good for our mind and body health. It creates anxiety, stress, emotional pain and even depression.


By choosing to forgive, we open ourselves up to more self love and love for others. Forgiveness frees us from these emotional ailments and allows us to move forward.


It is a process of healing which builds our strength and resilience by helping us to identify negative behaviourial patterns, in turn allowing us to learn and grow.


Be a hero not a victim


More often than not, when we create a grievance or grudge, we put ourselves into a position of victimhood, when in fact if we reframe the situation and forgive, we become the hero instead.


It is important to remember that forgiveness does not condone bad behaviour or excuse intentional hurt such as lying or cheating. You probably won’t forget the experience but you can forgive it; you can let go of the heaviness and pain to feel light and free again.


Why we need to forgive ourselves more


Self forgiveness creates a more loving and positive relationship with yourself and therefore others. It enables the same benefits as forgiving others – releasing stress and anxiety and allowing ourselves to breathe deeply and easily in our learning and growth.


How to forgive yourself


  1. For self forgiveness to be genuine and for you to truly benefit from the process, you have to be ready to forgive. Sometimes we need days, weeks or even months in extreme circumstances to feel ready. There’s no point pretending or rushing into the process.


  1. Firstly, look at what caused your issue; your upset, anger, shame or guilt. Be specific about it; generalising won’t work. It’s like setting a goal; something general is unachievable but something specific is in reach.


  1. Own your mistakes, errors and misjudgments. Recognise when you incorrectly place blame on others for your own actions, for example ‘I said that because she did this’.


  1. Then see what negative story or stories you have created around the issue. Ask yourself do I really want to be carrying this heaviness around with me? Realise how lighter life will be without this story. Know the past is the past and re-focus on the present.


  1. Take your power back. Giving your energy and attention to a grudge or grievance means you have given away your power to the ‘perpetrator’. By transcending the grievance to forgiveness, you regain power over your life and your experiences.


  1. Find a quiet place and do what you need to to feel calm. Say out loud to yourself ‘I forgive you’ or ‘I forgive myself’ ‘it’s okay’. Repeat as many times as you feel necessary to truly feel forgiven. Notice any resistance that may arise and be aware of what messages you are telling yourself to create this resistance.


  1. If someone else is involved in your self grudge and you feel it will cement your self forgiveness, apologise – genuinely – to the person involved. It will aid your healing process. They may not accept your apology but that is their story.


  1. Implement the learnings from each self forgiveness process to improve your future behaviours and reactions. See how it positively enhances your character and existence. Over time, this will become natural.

Faith Hill is an online life coach and NLP practitioner.

Why not take her new 1-hr online course ‘Positivity Made Easy: How To Think & Live Positively? Get the course for just $9.99 when you use the promo code: POSITIVE19

Find Faith’s course here on Udemy,

 Also, friends of Pure Flow Yoga can enjoy a 20% discount on coaching sessions with Faith. In the first instance, book a free 30-minute Strategy Session on Skype (no obligation required) to get to know each other by emailing faith.hill@sparkescapes.com


Faith Hill

Spark Escapes

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10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats are a Healing Must!

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats are a Healing Must!

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats Are a Healing Must!

by Chantal Di Donato

Ever reached that point when everything around you is falling apart and you need a serious break?

Most of us, especially in busy cities with equally busy lives, feel that way! I hit the wall a few times a year, when I know I need to unplug completely – from my surroundings, my phone and even people around me. When we get to that point, most of us would normally say that we need a “vacation.” But is a vacation enough?

I love traveling, it is a true passion, but since I became a yoga teacher, I woke up to a great reality: vacations are not always enough! Of course, it is great fun to get away, visit terrific places around the globe, maybe even chasing the sun, but oftentimes, we select places that have so much to see and do, that by the end of the vacation, we are exhausted and need another break to recuperate from the holiday we just had!

Yoga, meditation and other holistic healing retreats are the answer when a holiday is just not enough. There is something about retreats that is very special and can really create a platform for transformation! How, you ask? Here 10 reasons why your next holiday should be a retreat:



1. It is all about ME time


Holidays surely mean fun, discoveries and adventures, but if you are in need to care for your wellbeing, a retreat is the only place you can get the “ME” time you deserve. The idea of a retreat is to create a safe space where you can nurture your body and soul. The atmosphere is relaxed, everything is taken care of and you really have to do nothing but enjoy the activities, surroundings, food and company (or alone time if you need that).


2. An opportunity to feel present

Retreats are designed to offer a comprehensive escape embedding fun with relaxation. Because the activities, classes, therapies and meals are made for you, you can enjoy being present without needing to plan anything! At most, when you have free time from classes, you can decide if you wish to visit the surroundings, cities nearby or nature, all at your own pace, without any schedule or watch to adhere to.


3. Allowing a break for the digestive system


Most retreats will offer comprehensive meals in the package and generally the idea is to have food that can boost your body’s ability to work at its best and even kick-start a little detoxification plan! You can certainly look for specific dietary requirements (like a juicing retreat) but retreats often include food that is healing and can support good digestion and even the restoration of a healthy gut!


4. Daily routines to calm the mind

Routine in the standard sense can be quite tiring! We see getting up, going to work and going back home as routine too, but it doesn’t make us feel very well. On retreats, the routines created are for health! Routines (like yoga classes in the morning and meditation classes in the evening) can allow the body to feel in tune with the rhythm of the retreat and discover how to calm down knowing that those healing activities can impact your brain and body positively.



5. Meeting like-minded people

On holiday, we may meet a lot of people, but oftentimes the context does not allow for deep connections. We may meet someone on the beach or at a restaurant or bar, but when we spend enough time with someone like we do on retreats, we can really enjoy discovering who they are and connecting deeply. Research shows that it takes a person an average of seven hours to start trusting another. On retreats, you will spend a lot of time with people who, like you, are there to find a way to relax, to discover their inner voice. Therefore, you can share something deeper than a drink with them, and many people return home friends from retreats!



6. Time slows down

A fascinating thing I noticed on all my retreats was how time seemed to slow down. It is quite daunting that we spend our days rushing from one place or task to another and time flies! Retreats allow time to slow down because we are no longer chasing tasks; we are living in the present! That sort of connection allows us not to worry about our watches, but rather feel that we are enjoying what we are doing right “NOW.” It is a pretty powerful state of mind and it affects how we perceive time in every possible way!



7. Personal growth


I have a little anecdote about a group of girls who came to my retreat to Morocco last year. When I went to pick them up at the airport, at their arrival, they seemed distressed and tired, were happy to be there but had a very chaotic energy about them! A week later, when they left from the same airport, their aura was completely transformed. I always wish I had filmed their arrival and departure to show the difference! It looked like they had blossomed and found inner peace!

Being on the retreat, eating live foods and connecting with people around them allowed a lot of fears, frustration and discomfort to leave and allowed space for growth. The retreat had some tears, moments of distress when dealing with personal issues and emotions, but the result was all worth it! This is probably the biggest difference between a vacation and a retreat and why retreats are so powerful! You go there knowing that you want to feel better and, consciously or not, are ready to deal with personal demons and open up the door that will take you to the next level.



8. Human Touch


This one’s another personal favourite when it comes to retreats. I love the idea that someone is there 24/7 to take care of me, to nurture me, and just pamper me and assist all my needs! From yoga classes to massages or coaching sessions, retreats offer so many opportunities to feel seen and heard! Most of us need that, in a world where we seem to be part of a rushing herd and we are dying to stand out! I love feeling unique and retreats are designed to accommodate accordingly!



9. Accommodates all budgets!  

Just like holidays, retreats also accommodate according to our budget. You can select a standard, daily yoga and accommodation retreat up to five stars experiences. You can read feedback from people and see what their experience was and normally the feedbacks are very comprehensive, giving a good idea of how the entire retreat is, from classes to hosts to food.

It is nice to know what to expect and it is nice to know you can tailor your experience so that even if your budget is not big, you can still allow your retreat to give you an amazing time. I personally prefer to save for slightly more comprehensive retreats so that everything I need is taken care of, but I love that there are choices for everyone!


10. You realise retreats are holidays

The beauty of retreats is that they turn out to be the vacation you needed, to begin with! Although some people think all retreats are about drinking clay, keeping quiet and meditate for days, the options available allow so much choice and the opportunity to create the experience you want with so much more! Time to think, staying quiet, enjoying the surroundings and people, as well as the freedom to visit a new place, country and exploring the culture, all come with the knowledge that everything has been taken care of and you can just relax! This is what I call a vacation!



Whether you are a seasoned “retreater” or a newbie, I can ensure that you will not only love the experience but become addicted to it! Retreats have transformed the way I see holidays and although I still enjoy traveling all over, I find that the opportunity to stay in a beautiful place being looked after allows me to heal within and out, feel better about myself and gives me time to make better decisions in life too. A moment to STOP and RESET;  that is truly life changing!

Looking for your next Yoga + Travel + Retreat experience?

Check out Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in Koh Phangan Thailand. Their retreats are awesome: super-affordable, intimate groups, and community-oriented.  The location is beyond beautiful too! The perfect place to find “Me” Time:

Chantal is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, yoga teacher, author, nutrition and diet advisor with NLP, and founder of Live Lean Health and Live Lean TV. She believes medicine is on our plates and she implements both nutrition and lifestyle in her coaching practice. She works with people who seek positive change, physically, spiritually and emotionally, and other clients who want to regain their health and feel their best ever! Chantal is also a contributor at BookYogaRetreats.com.

Chantal Di Donato

Founder, Live Lean Health

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The Art of Meditation

The Art of Meditation

The Art of Meditation

by Kristen Powell

“Deep Centering” was made with sound waves from a guided meditation. I love how the sound waves show the periods of stillness and silence during a meditation. The colours deepening as the mind settles in.

To hear and practice our Morning Meditation, you can visit Pure Flow Yoga on Soundcloud 

Calgarian artist Kristen Powell is known for her vibrant mixed media pieces that incorporate digital media and striking handmade elements. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. She works as a high school art teacher and creates art on weekends.  For Kristen, music and sound are often connected to important moments and memories. She uses these moments as inspiration to create abstract paintings that include sound waves and symbolic colours. Her pieces resonate with viewers because of our shared experience with music and sound. Kristen aims to make emotional experiences tangible and relatable. She enjoys experimenting with new mediums and seeking to create images that resonate with others.  Resonance is the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories and emotions. Kristen connects to frequencies in life to gather inspiration. She is inspired by music and sound, emotional experiences, the senses, the beauty of nature, her spirituality, vibrant colours, and new materials. Kristen’s preferred medium at the moment is alcohol ink.

Visit Kristin’s website Resonance Art to learn more and view her epic art.

Kristen Powell

Artist, Resonance Art Studio

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Journey to Self-Love on a Yoga Retreat

Journey to Self-Love on a Yoga Retreat

Letting in the Light:

My Journey to Self-Love on a Yoga Retreat


*** GUEST POST ***

I have returned to my paradise. This paradise is located exactly at 9.6914° N, 100.0740° E, and it goes by the name of Haad Yuan beach at Koh Phangan. This magical corner of the world with white sandy beaches, lush jungles and gorgeous rocks is where I started my spiritual journey a bit more than a year ago, and now I have been blessed to return.

A year ago I was still healing from an ended relationship, struggling with loving myself enough to be happy and peaceful and to live the life I always imagined for myself. I was lost with my studies, not knowing if it was what I wanted to do, and lost with all the expectations I set for myself to execute a so-called perfect life. Somewhere deep in me, I knew that the one thing I most desperately needed was to love myself unconditionally, without expectations. I was sure that most of the other issues would resolve themselves, if I only had this love towards myself and my life.

Now, all that was missing was a way to achieve that love. Six months before setting my foot on the sand of Koh Phangan, I had subscribed to an Ashtanga Yoga course in my hometown Helsinki, and quite enjoyed it. Ashtanga was competitive enough for my ambitious mind, and so it felt like a good option to look for an opportunity to do some yoga during my two-week holiday from work. I googled yoga Thailand, booked my retreat and bought my tickets, and was on my way to my first-ever yoga retreat on my first-ever trip alone.

So, to me this island is a paradise, it was a year ago and it still is. It truly is Yin and Yang with its party scene and spirituality beautifully mixed together, but what is even more magical about this island is that it just seems to make people more receiving, open to encounter their emotions and their own vulnerability. Maybe this emotional clarity stems from the fact that the island is made of quartz crystal, but I could feel how, since day one sitting on a rock watching the gorgeous ocean, something that I had been holding back started opening in me. All those feelings, pretending to be so strong and capable, it almost felt like my walls started to fall down, and I was receiving what would come. And it was exactly the right thing to do.

And as it was the right thing for me to encounter my own vulnerability, this universe has an incredible way of sending like-minded people on each other’s paths. At Pure Flow Yoga  I would enjoy the company of people from different cultures, backgrounds and age groups on a very similar journey towards better self-understanding, love and balance. The environment really invites you to open up, because you feel like you are safe and these people are there to share your journey for a week or two.

In the beginning of the retreat I tried to soothe my ambitious and competitive mind by executing my practice the best way possible. I wanted to be able to do every single asana every single time, but very soon I realized that it is not possible. Sometimes my body was just so tired, that I let myself lie in the child’s pose and just breathe. At first I felt angry at myself, “why can’t I do all these poses, what is wrong with me?” I kept on thinking I’m not strong enough, not good enough, not worthy enough. And I think it was the third day, when I burst into tears, that I realized this was the circle that I had to break to get closer to self-love and acceptance.

So I surrendered. The resistance had taken so much energy, blaming myself for not being good enough in sports, in school, in a relationship, in life, and I couldn’t help but to surrender. I let myself go, giving my best effort, telling myself it is enough, that I am worthy and loveable and enough. Just doing my best, and sometimes it is more, sometimes less. Sometimes we are strong and could do a thousand Vinyasas or fight the battles in our life and sometimes we just feel like crawling into a comfortable nest and laying in the child’s pose or let our life take its course by itself. And it is all okay.

As the week progressed I realized that I felt comfortable enough to surrender to self-acceptance as well. This is my body, perfect as it is, my temper and personality, grateful for them being what they are. Slowly I could be more kind towards myself, I could observe myself, see what attachments I hold in my life, and still tell myself it is okay to hold them. I would just observe, and acknowledge that these attachments too will change, like everything else in my life.

It is not like one week of meditation and yoga will fix all your problems or challenges, or change your personality and offer you peace of mind. But if you have ever had that lights-on moment in your life, you know that moment, when suddenly you see something very clearly, like you have a solution or explanation right in front of you, and you wonder how you couldn’t see it before, taking a week to focus on yourself can be quite close to that. Almost as if someone were to operate the dimming lights or there would be a rising sun peeking through your curtains to shed a little bit of light for you to see more clearly. And then it is up to you to take that journey and to open the curtains completely and let the light in.


Sofia is a young woman on a quest to unconditional love and acceptance through yoga and meditation. She is a student, young professional and above all a curious human being, who loves seeing other cultures, meeting new people and understanding what sets their heart on fire. Besides helping others to fulfill their potential, Sofia loves writing, reading, going out with friends and family, animals, laughing, nature and her morning coffee.  You can follow Sofia’s adventures on her travel blog and Instagam @sofiasmap.

Sofia Pohls